Archive for the ‘health’ Category

So, looks like Chewy.com is crumbling under the weight of people ordering large quantities of pet supplies from them. Since the pet store where I buy cat litter is closed, I decided to order my second-choice cat litter from them. Nope. Sold out. So found a second choice they still had in stock, and put two 40 pound bags into my cart, then went to add some cat food to meet the “free shipping” criteria. First choice: Sold out. Second choice: Sold out. Third choice — yep, my cats will eat that one, so added it to the cart. If this goes on, things are going to get grim for cat owners, maybe to the point where they have to make their cats into indoor-outdoor cats. At least I can still get cat food in large 40 pound bags locally, at least until Costco runs out.

One of the interesting things locally has been what has happened to our local Nextdoor group. This is generally a bunch of angry white people who post messages about suspicious people walking down the street (suspicious people who seem to always be brown), suspicious cars (driven by brown people, duh), omg I saw a snake in my backyard is it poisonous (answer: no, we don’t have any poisonous snakes in our city, rattlesnakes don’t like swamps), and so forth. But now there is a lot of people who are offering to help the older members with shopping and who are filling us in on what stores are open and what items they have so that people don’t need to drive all over to find what they need, as well as restaurants we should be supporting by ordering take-out, and so forth. It’s more like what was always envisioned for Nextdoor, neighbors helping neighbors.

The Giant Orange Underwear Shitstain hit the markets hard today with yet another incoherent babbling speech that did more harm than good but that his moron supporters undoubtedly ate up like chocolate ice cream despite the fact that, except for color, his bullshit shares nothing in common with chocolate ice cream. Meanwhile, the most honest man in the NIH, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which is already testing a vaccine and a treatment, has been sidelined for, well, being honest. Despite the fact that his organization is the only one in the whole shitstain that is the Trump Administration that has actually responded quickly and competently to the crisis. Because competence is not rewarded in the Trump Administration. Loyalty is. Thus my new bumper sticker that came in yesterday:

Any Functioning Adult

Any Functioning Adult 2020

Mostly people seem to be complying with the shelter in place quarantine orders. The exception is Elon Musk’s Tesla, because building electric luxury cars for rich people is apparently an essential business in his eyes. Gotta meet those quarterly production numbers, y’know. Elon Musk now becomes a trope, the corrupt evil corporate executive. I bet those of you who were worshipping Musk a few years ago feel silly now, eh?

Food-wise, I finished up the hot dogs for lunch. With pickle relish, mustard, and ‘kraut, of course. I ate fish and baked potatoes for supper. I haven’t even touched the canned food in my pantry yet.

I haven’t ventured out of the house today other than to fetch the newspaper and feed the ferals that appear to be living on my back patio now, they’re sleeping in the cat beds and hanging around most of the day. It’s all been virtual interactions. We are well on the way to the world of the Newsflesh Trilogy, where people don’t interact with each other in person because anybody could be carrying the virus and turn into a ravenous zombie at any moment, everything’s done via the Internet or remote delivery into sterilization chambers. The governor has stated that school is probably cancelled for the rest of this school year, and has cancelled standardized testing since you can’t really test what hasn’t been taught because the schools are cancelled. People are setting up study groups and virtual schools on the Internet but that isn’t really a substitute for school, regardless of what the “unschooling” advocates believe.

Talk now is that the way things are is going to continue until at least mid-summer, which is going to take a horrific toll on the economy because most stores are closed and unemployment is going to go sky-high. And Republicans are talking about sending every American a check for $2,000. Republicans. Wow. We are in bizarro world.

I don’t know what the world is going to look like after all of this is done, but I have a suspicion it’s going to look somewhat different from what it looks like today. Meanwhile, I have food and drink, I’m healthy, I still have a job (for the moment), so we’re going to have to see what happens, I guess.

– Badtux the “Interesting Times” Penguin

Read Full Post »

All of the counties in the SF Bay area have issued “Shelter In Place” orders basically shutting everything down. Here is Alameda County’s.

HSSV (Humane Society Silicon Valley) has shut down all non-essential services. No adoption fairs. No spay/neuter/vaccination. My TNR of the local kitties is on hold for the duration.

Kaiser-Permanente called and said that all allergy department appointments have been cancelled for the next 30 days. Apparently they are preparing to re-shuffle personnel into COVID-19 treatments. So my allergy shots are cancelled.

I am working at home. Today a switch died at the office. I directed somneone in replacing it via a Skype video call. The replacement switch triggered a packet storm due to a loop, so I then directed him to remove the wires back to the old switch, and then slowly move them one by one. It was the wire in port 11, which he traced to a place it should not have been, so I had him remove it entirely.

I went out to buy some Sudafed because I noticed I was low. Sudafed has strict controls to keep people from buying large quantities, so they had plenty of it behind the pharmacy counter. But the shelves for flu/cold medications at CVS were emptied. I’m not sure why. It doesn’t really matter for me, I have plenty of antihistamines and decongestants now, but so it goes.

There was a large amount of traffic for a weekday afternoon. Everybody seems to be panic-buying. There was no distilled water for my CPAP machine at CVS, so I popped across the street to Sprouts, which usually has a lot. All checkouts were busy. Most shelves were stripped bare. A quick trip to the water aisle showed that they’d stripped even the distilled water clean. I have about 2.5 gallons so that’ll last me a week or so, we’ll see if they have some on Friday. If not I can use boiled water, but it’ll gum up the humidifier over time, so not really recommended.

I did an inventory of my pantry. Note *just* my pantry, not my bread basket or refrigerator or freezer. I have 37 canns of tuna. 22 cans of kippered herring. 5 lbs of pancake mix, 16 lb masa (corn tortilla) flour, 8 lb of general purpose wheat flour, and a bunch of other stuff I’m not listing here like rice, beans, spaghetti, mac’n’cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and of course 10 lbs of coffee beans. I think I’m fine, I’m not going to starve to death even if the stores never do restock. Note that all this isn’t a result of panic buying, it’s a result of me living down the street from an overstock grocer and buying in bulk whenever they get something in that I like. I wish I’d bought spam in bulk, they had spam coming out the wazoo before this panic buying started, but alas it’s not to be. No problem tho, I’m pretty well set.

The death rate in Italy has apparently hit 8% because their health care system, rated #2 in the world, was overwhelmed. Let’s hope that we’re not too late with the orders shutting everything down.


Read Full Post »

Here’s a list of every single autism case caused by vaccines:


Oh wait, there aren’t any.

The only study claiming a connection was later found to be fraudulent, the doctor who conducted it had his medical license stripped, and the journal that published it publicly apologized and retracted it. This fraudulent study was the *only* study that ever found a link between vaccines and autism. The only one. Every other study which attempted to find a link, couldn’t find one. Yet there are still people who believe that because *one* study that nobody else was ever able to replicate found a link, there’s a link. Uhm, no. That’s not how science works. Especially when the one study turned out to be fraudulent.

Making any claims about the cause of autism right now is ridiculous, because we don’t even know what makes people autistic. When I was teaching special education classes I spent a significant amount of time both interacting with autistic children and reading the then-latest research on autism. What I found was that the definition of autism was descriptive — a child exhibiting a certain set of behaviors was defined as autistic — and that science had only speculation as the the causes of that set of behaviors that boiled down to “sensory processing deficits” (which they concluded based upon brain studies comparing autistic vs “normal” children upon being exposed to various stimuli). After I left teaching they later lumped in Asperger’s with autism and redefined the whole thing as “autism spectrum disorder”, because from what they can tell the sensory processing deficits that are hypothesized as the main trait of autism occurred in both sets of people, just in differing degrees.

It’s still unclear why processing happens differently in autistic kids, and so we get all this woo around it. There are no obvious structural differences between the brains of autistic kids and the brains of normal kids, but for some reason different parts of the brain light up in response to stimuli between the two sets of kids (autistic and control group). The notion that we understand why this happens and thus can determine a cause for why this happens is laughable and doesn’t at all match up with any actual research into the biological causes of autism. We’re better at describing the behavioral traits of autism and diagnosing autism than we used to be, but still no better at understanding what it actually is on a biological level.

– Badtux the Science Penguin

Read Full Post »

This is a rather frightening article about kids who are psychopaths.

Yet I wonder… is it perhaps too quick to label all kids with this specific set of behaviors as psychopaths?

I’m thinking of two kids that I dealt with at the behavior center where I taught. One of them definitely was a psychopath. He didn’t even feel pain the same way that other kids did. The orderlies would jack him up and he’d be both screaming and laughing, and basically they couldn’t do anything with him until the screaming tired him out enough that he was no longer able to fight them. Then they’d take him to the isolation room and let him loose, and he’d happily bounce around in there until he was let out again, at which point maybe he’d participate in class, maybe he wouldn’t. We used positive reinforcement to encourage participation, of course. But sometimes he just snapped and tried to hurt people even with that, and then the cycle started all over again.

It was pretty clear to those of us in the program that this was a kid who was going to be the next Charles Manson. He had no empathy, his view of the world was very monochromic, he hurt based on whim with no conscience, he was, basically, evil.

Then there’s another kid. He was a mini gang banger. As in, doing drive-by shootings on his bicycle, throwing cinder blocks off of Interstate pedestrian walkways and laughing as they smashed through car windshields and killed people, etc. Yet… we threw a birthday party for him. His little 5 year old sister came with his mother to his birthday party. It was quite clear that he loved his little sister dearly. If you said anything that could even conceivably be thought of as critical about his little sister, he would get all upset. And he loved his momma too. This was a kid who wasn’t a psychopath. He’d simply been raised wrong, to view people outside his immediate circle of family and friends as “other”. And he was definitely capable of empathy… as this next story shows:

There were two Hispanic kids in the group that I taught. One was a chubby bespectacled baby-ish kid who was there primarily because the self-control centers of his brain had been burnt out by crack while he was still in his momma’s tummy. He didn’t *want* to do wrong, but sometimes he just did things without thinking. So we were trying to teach him some cognitive workarounds to that impulsiveness that used parts of his brain that weren’t burnt out.

The other was the mini gang banger. They despised each other, these two. Never a good word for each other, and always making trouble for each other. Now, we had a celebration at the end of every week for those kids who’d managed to work their points and get enough points to join the celebration. Nothing fancy, just a little party with some games cupcakes and little gifts from the dollar store or from the district media center at the end of the day when no learning would have been happening anyhow because everybody was happy to go home for the weekend (this being a day program). So anyhow, the chubby kid had gone through some trouble that week, I don’t recall what exactly had happened, and hadn’t made his points. So he got to sit in the front of the classroom in the chairs while we all had fun back in the carpeted nook.

So he’s sitting there looking forlorn, and the mini gang banger says, “C’mon, let Freddie join us.” (Not his name). And I’m, like, “no, he didn’t make his points, that wouldn’t be fair to the kids who did the work to make their points.” So the mini gang banger, let’s call him “Mikey” as in “Mikey hates everything”, keeps begging with those puppy dog eyes to let Freddie join the party. Finally I say, “Why are you asking me to do this for Freddie anyhow? You don’t even like him!”

And he says to me softly, looking down at the table, “I know how he feels.”

Yeah, if you just knew his record, you might think this kid was a psychopath. But he wasn’t. He could feel empathy for others, if he hadn’t been taught to consider that other to be a non-person, or if he interacted with that person every day so he could learn that this person was a fellow human being and not an “other”. That makes all the difference, in the end, and probably is why he’s not on death row for murder right now (though he’s currently midway through his second stint as a guest of the Texas Department of Corrections for drug dealing –quelle surprise!).

But for the real life psychopaths out there… if they aren’t in prison, it’s because they haven’t been caught yet. Either because they’re too smart, or they got a job on Wall Street. Either way, they view human beings as prey, not as fellow travellers in the human race. And they are in charge.

They are in charge.

If that doesn’t fucking terrify you, you’re dumber than a box of rocks. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Psychopath-observin’ Penguin

Read Full Post »

Dementia sucks

That is all :(.

– Badtux the Sad Penguin

Read Full Post »

No evidence that flossing has any medical benefits.

Apparently Big Floss has brainwashed us all. There’s been studies, but none of them have shown that flossing does anything that’ll keep teeth from falling out or decaying that can’t be done with other methods such as toothpicks to pick food out from between your teeth. In short, yet another piece of conventional wisdom turns out to be pretty much “conventional” rather than “wisdom”. The ADA pretty much says now, “well, we don’t have evidence supporting flossing, but it *might* work, so do it anyhow.” Uhm, okay. See this wooden block? This wooden block is an elephant repellant block. I know it works because I haven’t seen a single elephant anywhere near me for years…

This reminds me of the demonization of eggs. Back when cholesterol was tagged as the bad guy in heart disease, it was basically suggested that if you ate eggs on a regular basis you were going to die of a heart attack. Thing is, once you adjust for other factors such as weight and exercise level, there’s no evidence that suggests any connection between eggs and heart disease. The only study that showed *any* correlation at all — the doctors study — didn’t adjust for weight and exercise level, and *still* showed only a tiny increase in chances of a heart attack, and only if you ate more than one egg per day.

In short, to meet my goals for protein and calories, I’m eating two eggs per day, and not worrying about it. Controlling my weight while making sure I get enough protein to keep my organs healthy is far better for heart health than any kind of dietary cholesterol restrictions…

– Badtux the Health Penguin

Read Full Post »

I mean, that’s no surprise to anybody who’s followed the Republican nomination process this year, and today’s offer of the nomination to Donald Trump — and his acceptance — would qualify the convention as full of shit if nothing else had happened. But… now the GOP convention is literally full of shit, due to an outbreak of Norovirus.

Plagues of locusts and toads tomorrow?

– Badtux the Head-shakin’ Penguin

Read Full Post »


So I took my blood pressure this morning, and it popped slightly into the yellow range. According to the documentation with my blood pressure monitor, that’s the “caution” range. It does that from time to time. So I went online and checked what it meant and it said “make lifestyle changes.” Then I checked the blood pressure charts and… WTF? My blood pressure is below average for a man my age? And in fact is average for a man ten years younger than me?

I don’t get it. What purpose is served by telling people whose blood pressure is below average for someone their age, who in fact has the BP of a man ten years younger, that they need to “make lifestyle changes”? Other than discrediting the medical profession as a bunch of idiots who can’t tell the difference between normal aging and disease, that is?

– Badtux the Healthy(?) Penguin

Read Full Post »

The Free Market Fairy and his... her... magic wand of Free Market Magic Dust

The Free Market Fairy and his… her… magic wand of Free Market Magic Dust

So we don’t need things like the FDA because the magical Free Market Fairy will sprinkle his… her… magic Free Market Fairy Dust on everything and all will be well, right? For proof of that, look at Specialty Compounding of Cedar Park, TX, whose products are perfectly safe thanks to all that magical free market fairy dust that makes, like, everything turn out okay.

Just ignore the Rhodococcus equi bacteria. I see nothing, nothing I say! Nobody ever got harmed by a little bacteria in their bloodstream anyhow, right? I mean, other than the ones who got sick and died, but sheesh. They were just ninnies anyhow, it’s evolution in action!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Read Full Post »

High times

Well, my history series is sort of at a standstill right now because of a medication crisis. I had to change medications due to an allergy attack that didn’t respond to the non-drowsiness allergy medications, meaning I’m on good ole’ Benadryl right now. Which sure knocked the sniffles out cold… but also has *me* pretty much knocked out cold.

We’ll see if I’ll be able to write anything more this evening. I’m suspecting not, though. I’m pretty damned high right now.

– Badtux the Sniffly Penguin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »